This is one of those recipes that will be met with amazement and appreciation by your guests. “You made these?” they’ll all say. You’ll just smile and nod.
Made with pâte à choux, the same dough used for cream puffs or éclairs, these delightful little puffs are savory and made with cheese. They are the perfect little nibble to have with white wine or champagne before a meal. Traditionally, they are made with Swiss cheese like Gruyère, but they can be made with any strongly flavored cheese or combination of cheeses.
In this recipe, the cheese puffs are formed with spoons. For more precision, you can put the dough into a piping bag and pipe them onto the baking sheets. If you make too many cheese puffs, which is rarely a problem, you can freeze them for up to three months. Reheat them in a 325-degree oven for 5-10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large saucepan on medium-low heat, add the water and the butter.
When the butter is completely melted and the water is at a rolling boil, add the flour, salt and ground mustard.
Turn heat to low and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until everything is incorporated and the dough comes together, about 3-4 minutes.
Put the dough into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. It will be steaming hot.
Let it cool for a minute or two and then turn the mixer on the lowest speed. When it stops steaming, add the first egg. Mix until it is completely incorporated.
Add the subsequent eggs one at a time, making sure each is fully incorporated before adding the next. The dough should begin to look shiny.
Add both cheeses and mix until incorporated.
Take a heaping spoonful of the dough and put it on one of the lined baking sheets. Repeat, spreading them out, making sure not to crowd them.
Using a pastry brush, brush the puffs with egg wash. If you would like, sprinkle a little more cheese over each.
Bake in a 450-degree oven for 5 minutes.
Turn the oven down to 350 degrees and continue baking for 20 minutes or until they are crisp and golden brown. Serve immediately.
Putting these on a tray surrounded by fruits, nuts and a variety of cheeses will make a lovely spread. A glass of champagne would be the perfect beverage to accompany the gougères.
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